Report: The Future of Fueling Is Better Consumer Experiences

Report: The Future of Fueling Is Better Consumer Experiences

Retaining frequent fuelers and earning new customers requires fuel and convenience retailers to maintain a competitive edge. Today’s consumers demand faster, more seamless and more personalized retail experiences, but are those qualities enough to win over new fans at the pump?

In a recent report, Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS) surveyed 1,003 U.S. consumers to explore their current fueling experiences and their expectations of an optimal experience. Five major themes about consumer behavior and preference emerged from the research. The results serve as a call to action for the industry to raise its experience standard.

1. Experience Makes a Greater Difference Than You Think

DFS found that 50 per cent of consumers will likely switch fuel stations if a competitor offers a significantly enhanced customer experience. Among millennial consumers, this number increases to 60 per cent. Additional data from younger consumers indicates they might be willing to drive further for high-quality service. While location and price remain most critical to consumer choice, these findings illustrate the importance of retailers delivering stand-out customer experiences to grow market share.

2. Concern About Payment Security Is on the Rise

Protecting consumers’ payment data should still be top of mind for all fueling retailers. For the second year, consumers ranked payment security (79 per cent) as their most valued feature when making gas station purchases. This is up from 70 per cent in 2022, showing even greater consensus. To address this growing concern, fuel station owners should look to educate consumers on payment security protocols and implement the latest payment and security technologies to attract new customers and retain frequent fuelers.

3. Ads at the Pump Are Driving C-Store Foot Traffic

Over half (51 per cent) of consumers notice advertisements on or around the fuel pump, with close to one-third (32 per cent) saying fuel pump commercials and ads have convinced them to enter a convenience store. Among younger generations, that number goes up even more, with nearly half (46 per cent) of Gen Z and millennial consumers citing they are more likely to be swayed into a c-store based on ads shown on or around the pump. To encourage more c-store foot traffic, retailers should capitalize on dispensers as prime real estate for displaying media and advertisements.

4. Younger Consumers Are Eyeing Self-Service Solutions

More than 40 per cent of all consumers are likely to use self-ordering technology for their c-store food and drink purchases. That percentage is higher for younger generations, with Gen Z (57 per cent) and millennials (59 per cent) much keener to do so than Gen Xers (45 per cent) and baby boomers (30 per cent). This enthusiasm for self-service sets the stage for fuel stations to adopt cutting-edge technology focused on delivering fast and convenient experiences. And based on respondent feedback, retailers can convince more customers to self-order if they integrate loyalty programs or rewards.

5. Fuelers Are Ready to Multitask If It’s Fast and User-Friendly

DFS asked respondents to predict how innovation might improve their fueling experience in the future. Consumers aren’t picturing a complete technology overhaul at gas stations. Most want an improvement on their current experiences to be faster, easier, more productive and more accessible. Consumers envision greater convenience while refueling, such as having options for an email or text receipt, a more automated fueling process, and smart pumps that know their preferences without asking. Others predicted that technology can make gas stations accessible for a wide variety of people, abilities and needs.

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Enhancing Experience at the Pump

In the ever-changing landscape of fueling and convenience retail, competition is fierce. And with one in every two consumers willing to visit a different gas station for a better experience, retailers must evolve with consumer expectations. By delivering on crucial services while exploring emerging preferences like self-service, advanced payments and tailored pump experiences, retailers can level up their experience to be faster, more reliable and more convenient — qualities many of today’s consumers are seeking.

To explore the full report, visit reports.doverfuelingsolutions.com/future-of-fueling-2023

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